he 2023 salary trends for sales engineers are in flux, with wildly different averages in various locations, tech sub-sectors, and for different experience levels (especially when it comes to product knowledge). SEs are still in relatively high demand and can achieve larger earning potentials than many other roles, but this depends greatly on the factors listed before. For more information on how rates changed across the top sales, marketing and customer success jobs in tech, read our 2023 Compensation Guide here.
In this blog, we will analyze the latest data on sales engineer salary trends and provide insights on factors that affect salary and more.
What is a Sales Engineer?
SEs play a vital role in the tech industry, bridging the gap between technical and sales teams and ensuring that the solutions being sold are a good fit for the customer’s needs. In 2023, the most in-demand skills for sales engineers include technical knowledge, product expertise, communication skills, and a strong understanding of the sales process. Additionally, deep knowledge of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and data analytics is becoming increasingly important as these technologies are integrated into businesses of all sizes.
Sales engineer responsibilities are also going to vary between organizations and play a deciding factor in determining final compensation for each particular position, along with the experience level of the person filling it. For example, someone with more senior-level experience in managing a newer SAAS product is very likely to earn more than an entry-level pre-sales engineer working with a popular older system.
Sales Engineer Average Salary in 2023
For the most part, the salary trends in 2023 for sales engineers were similar to those of the previous year, which echoed the raise freezes we have seen in other parts of the tech industry. However, base rates varied wildly between different locations and the US average ($110,000 – $150,000) did not reflect the full range some new hires would find in the bigger tech hubs. For example, an SE in an East Coast city could earn a base of $135,000 – $165,000 but one in the Central time zone would be capped at $100,000 – $120,000.
It’s also interesting to note that the rates we saw for remote sales engineers reflected the Eastern time zone average listed above. Beyond that, however, on-track earnings (OTE) – or total compensation potential – were highly dependent on experience across all candidates.
Stock options are becoming an increasingly popular form of compensation for SEs. Tech startups are using these along with equity offers as a way to attract and retain top talent in 2023, especially those who are trying to enforce stricter hiring budgets in the current economy. These options give sales engineers a stake in the company’s success and can be worth a significant amount of money if the company goes public or is acquired.
Signing bonuses are becoming more common as tech startups compete to attract top SE talent. These bonuses are usually a one-time payment made to the new hire when they join the company and can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the base salary being offered (the most common rate we saw was about 20%).
Job Perks and Benefits
Perks and benefits are becoming an important part of compensation packages for sales and marketing roles, including sales engineers. Tech startups are offering things like flexible work schedules, remote work options, and generous vacation time to attract and retain candidates.
Senior Sales Engineer Salary
Senior sales engineers are typically team leaders who manage more junior SEs when working with clients. In addition to the technical expertise required, this role also needs strong leadership skills and the ability to motivate their teams. Because of this, senior-level professionals in this position tend to earn higher than entry-level new hires, usually starting at $150,000 per year.
Hiring Platforms and Recruiting Agencies
Because of all the different factors that go into finding the right candidate for a sales engineer role for a tech startup, many companies will inevitably have to rely on a mix of different recruiting solutions to refine this search. The top choices are usually outsourcing to an agency or subscribing internal recruiters to a hiring platform (many end up using both). Agencies generally help source new hires faster for significant fees, while an online platform expands reach – and grants increased compensation visibility – but makes it harder to scale within budget.
What SE Salaries Will Look Like at the End of 2023
Out of many go-to-market (GTM) jobs – those in sales, marketing, customer success, etc. – the earnings potential of SEs can be especially hard to limit to an average, and both job seekers and employers will need to do their research to determine the right salary rate at the time. We predict that by 2024 tech will return to leading the market in compensation levels for new hires due to the growing gap between talent needed and the pool available. Sales engineers with the right amount of experience and with the right products will be in high demand again by this point, but rates will inevitably fluctuate between each position.
Betts Connect Can Help
If you’re building go-to-market teams, or seeking your next opportunity, Betts Connect can help. After more than a decade of building relationships with the world’s most innovative companies and professionals, you can now access this network with Connect. As the only go-to-market recruiting platform built by recruiters and powered by recruiters, Connect enables you to search through a network of vetted go-to-market professionals actively looking for their next opportunity, and reduce time to hire, save money, and spend more time on your growth strategy. Plus, our clients see ROI in less than 3 months.
In addition, our experienced teams always know the most up to date information on compensation and the working arrangements that top professionals are seeking from a future employer. If you have any questions, please reach out. We look forward to speaking with you!
To learn more about Betts Connect and see its value firsthand, sign up for a demo here.